• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Preparing for the journey
 What was the secret?
 A model good little boy
 Adventures of the journey
 The grey man
 Forget-me-not paper and fairy...
 A visit to the shore and Betty's...
 The grey man's eight eyes
 What the children wished for
 No admittance except to the...
 Many resolutions
 One of Dame Experience's raps
 Hit very hard
 "Phil's cupboard has disappear...
 Christabel visits the forest
 Little letters in silver and...
 In the festive hall
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: House of surprises
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084128/00001
 Material Information
Title: House of surprises
Physical Description: iv, 285, 1 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Meade, L. T., 1854-1914
Scannell, Edith ( Illustrator )
Longmans, Green, and Co ( Publisher )
Ballantyne, Hanson and Co ( Printer )
Publisher: Longmans, Green, and Co.
Place of Publication: London ;
New York ;
Bombay
Manufacturer: Ballantyne, Hanson and Co.
Publication Date: 1896
Edition: New ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wishes -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Obedience -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Holidays -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
India -- Bombay
Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by L.T. Meade ; illustrated by Edith Scannell.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084128
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234170
notis - ALH4588
oclc - 232624806

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preparing for the journey
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    What was the secret?
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    A model good little boy
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Adventures of the journey
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    The grey man
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Forget-me-not paper and fairy gifts
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    A visit to the shore and Betty's cakes
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The grey man's eight eyes
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    What the children wished for
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 110a
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    No admittance except to the worthy
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
    Many resolutions
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 170a
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
    One of Dame Experience's raps
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    Hit very hard
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
    "Phil's cupboard has disappeared!"
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
    Christabel visits the forest
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 248a
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
    Little letters in silver and gold
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
    In the festive hall
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 272a
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
    Advertising
        Page 286
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
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CONSPIRATORS IN THE HAYFIELD-


J ;-' h












THE


HOUSE OF SURPRISES





BY

L. T. MEADE
AUTHOR OF
"DADDY'S BOY," "DEB AND THE DUCHESS," ETC.


ILLUSTRATED BY EDITH SCANNELL





NEW EDITION





LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
LONDON, NEW YORK, AND BOMBAY
1896


All riglhs reserved





















CONTENTS.



PAGE
CHAPTER I.
PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY 1

CHAPTER II
WHAT WAS THE SECRET? 10

CHAPTER III.
A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY 22

CHAPTER IV.
ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY. 31

CHAPTER V.
THE GREY MAN 46

CHAPTER VI.
FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AD FAIRY GIFTS . 64

CHAPTER VII
A VISIT TO THE SIIOLR AND BETTY'S CAKES 73

CHAPTER VIII.
THE GREY MAN'S EIGHT EYES 93











1V CONTENTS.


PAAE.
CHAPTER IX.
WHAT THE CHILDREN WISHED FOR 107

CHAPTER X.
NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT TO THE WORTHY 118

CHAPTER XI.
MANY RESOLUTIONS 188

CHAPTER XII.
ONE OF DAME EXPERIENCE'S RAPS 174

CHAPTER XIII.
HIT VERY HARD 212

CHAPTER XIV.
SPHIL'S CUPBOARD HAS DISAPPEARED 227

CHAPTER XV.
CHRISTABEL VISITS THE FOREST ; 235

CHAPTER XVI.

LITTLE LETTERS IN SILVER AND GOLD 255

CHAPTER XVII.
IN THE FESTIVE HALL 267














THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


CHAPTER I.
PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY.

F ATHER and mother were going away
for the holidays, but the puzzle was
what to do with the children. They lived
in a very nice house in a fashionable part
of London, and the children could walk
in Hyde Park every day, and sometimes
they could even get into Kensington Gar-
dens, which they preferred, although Miss
Rogers, their governess, did not consider
it so fashionable; but Hyde Park and
Kensington Gardens were beginning to








2 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


look very dried-up and parched and
yellow, and father and mother could not
possibly think of going away, and enjoying
themselves in Switzerland, and leaving
their four little people to pine for fresh
and country air in London. Now at first
sight it seemed very easy to settle this
difficulty by sending the children and
Miss Rogers and nurse to the sea-side;
but there were difficulties, and grave ones,
in the way of this arrangement. In the
first place, nurse was anxious to have
a holiday herself; she had an only son,
who was going to seek his fortune in New
Zealand, and she wanted to be with him
during his last weeks in England; Miss
Rogers was very amiable, but was inclined
to be a little narrow-minded, and was
certainly not strong-minded; and then,
the children themselves.








PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY.


Christabel was between ten and eleven
years of age, and was really a very good, con-
scientious, well-behaved little girl; but Phil,
who came next, was decidedly naughty:
he said every day of his life that he did
not mean to be naughty, that he earnestly
desired to be a pattern, good little boy,
but every day, too, he was just the oppo-
site of a good little boy, and every day his
earnest desires ended in complete failure.
Sybil and Gilbert were still quite little
children, and would have been good
and easily managed if they had only
Christabel to look up to; but, alas Phil
was not only troublesome himself, trouble-
some and disobedient, and, as nurse
expressed it, contraryry" but he managed
to tempt the younger ones to follow in his
train.
There was something fascinating in the








4 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES,


look of mischief which sparkled in Phil's
bright eyes when he was propounding
some daring bit of naughtiness ; there was
something, alas! too persuasive in the
tones of his rather pleading voice. Sybil
and Gillie were sure to follow him. Nurse
said it was never the little ones' fault, but,
nevertheless, it was an understood thing
in the family that when Phil was in hot
water Sybil and Gillie were also merged
in the same element.
To send these four children to the sea-
side with only Miss Rogers as their pro-
tector was something not to be thought
of. Miss Rogers could not manage Phil,
and was very nervous at the thought of
undertaking Syb and Gilbert without
nurse's aid.
At this juncture an idea suddenly came
to father: it flashed brightly across his








PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY.


brain as he was brushing his hair in his
dressing-room, just one week before he
and mother were about to start for
Switzerland. He was so excited about it
that he rushed into his wife's room with
one side of his hair unbrushed, and stick-
ing up in so comical a manner that Gillie,
who was standing by mother's dressing-
table, began to laugh immoderately..
What are you up to, you little rogue ?"
said father. My dear," he continued,
addressing Mrs. Rochester, I have just
thought of where we can send the chil-
dren- Here Gillie stopped laughing,
and became immensely interested; he
wondered if he would have time to rush
out of the room for Syb, but concluded
that it would be wiser for him to stand
perfectly still, and listen with all his
might.








6 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


"Just the place," continued Mr.
Rochester. They'll all get as healthy
as possible, and Phil will be licked into
shape in no time. We'll send them to my
cousin, Mrs. Bell."
But that-that's close to the House
of Surprises," answered the children's
mamma, a look of concern coming into
her face.
Well, my dear, and a very good place
to be close to. Odd ?-well, there may
be something odd about it, but what of
that ? If Phil wants to go to school, and
to be trained, and to be made a man of,
let him go to school there. It did me
good long ago: it was the making of me;
and you always say Phil is just like his
father, don't you, my love ? "
Here Mrs. Rochester smiled, and Gillie,
raising his sweet brown eyes, saw father








PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY.


and mother kiss each other, and then, as
they took no particular notice of him, and
his little heart was quite bursting with
excitement, he slipped out of the room.
Gillie was only five years old, and the
story he managed to convey to Sybil was
exciting, but quite unintelligible. Sybil
gathered dimly that they were going to
some dreadful place of punishment, and
that it was for Phil's sake; and she then
and there told Gillie, with her eyes very
wide open, and her face full of intense
solemnity, that she was going to give up
following Phil, and in future would only
do what Christabel told her. She kept
to her resolve for exactly an hour, so that
it did not greatly matter, or change any-
body's plans in the least.
Two days afterwards there came a
letter from Mrs. Bell-it was a very long








8 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

letter, and father and mother only read
portions of it aloud to the children, but
what they did hear filled them with the
wildest delight, and Sybil and Gillie
forgot the few mysterious words which
Gillie had unfortunately overheard. Mrs.
Bell was the owner of a delightful farm
somewhere off the Devonshire coast, and
shewould receive the four little Rochesters
as her guests, and 'also Miss Rogers, the
governess. She would take great care of
the children, and would do her best to
make them happy-and-and-and-but
here father's voice became inaudible, and
mother peeped over his shoulder, and the
children, though they strained their ears,
could not catch a single word.
The sum and substance of it all is,
children," concluded Mr. Rochester,
" that you are to go, and Mrs. Bell will








PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY.


be ready to receive you on Monday night.
I shall pack you all, my good little people,
into a comfortable first-class railway
carriage early on Monday morning, and
as this is Thursday, you have just got two
days to pack. Now run away, all four of
you; Miss Rogers and nurse will help
you to get your things together. My dear
wife, it is really delightfully good-natured
of Mary Bell to take compassion on the
little imps in this way."
"But-but--" half hesitated Mrs.
Rochester, "she did not say anything
about the House of--"
Oh, hush my dear," answered her
husband.
It was Phil who overheard the half-
finished sentence this time.
















CHAPTER II.


WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?
IF Phil had a fault-a virtue he con-
sidered it himself-it was an unusual
love of finding out mysteries. Mrs.
Bell's farm-it was called the Manor
Farm, and seemed, from its description,
to be just an ordinary every-day sort of
place-was close to the House of-
here mother had stopped. Father had
said Hush!" and mother had not
added another word. The fact, how-
ever, that there was a secret was quite
enough for Phil; he determined to lose
no time in getting to the bottom of it.








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


Gillie and Sybil had been noticed for
the last two days to whisper a good deal
to each other, but Phil never thought
it judicious to take much notice of the
little ones, except when he was leading
them into mischief. It certainly never
occurred to him to go to them for an
explanation of the mystery which mother
had just hinted at.
Burning with curiosity, he ran upstairs,
looked into the play-room where the two
little ones were sitting in the midst of
a great debris of toys, and then hurried
off to the more orderly schoolroom,
where Christabel, with Miss Rogers to
help her, was making a careful selection
of books to take into the country.
"Phil," said Christabel, raising a
slightly anxious little face, I wish you'd
just stop for one minute, and tell us








12 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


which of the recreation books we really
want to have packed. You have read
' Robinson Crusoe' and the 'Swiss
Family Robinson' so often. Miss
Rogers thinks that perhaps if we took
'Near Home' and the first volume
of 'Far off,' you could-why, Phil--"
You don't suppose I'm going to study
those tiresome books in the country "
said Phil, in a tone of greatest contempt.
"Why, Chris, were you ever in the
country ?-how can. you talk such
nonsense ? "
Christabel grew painfully red.
Miss Rogers thinks we should have
a few recreation lessons," she began,
meekly-" she says it will steady our
nerves, and make us enjoy our play all
the more. She says the true meaning
to be learned from all play and no work








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


makes Jack a mere toy' is that children
should have recreation lessons in their
holidays."
While Christabel was speaking Miss
Rogers had left the room-Phil looked
round, ascertained the fact, and then
went up softly to his sister.
Look here, Chris," he exclaimed,
"I have quite made up my mind, and
I'm not going to have you, or Miss
Rogers, or anybody else, interfering with
me-I am going to have a real jolly time
in the country-I'm going to climb trees,
and I'm going to swim, and I'm going
to dive. The Manor Farm is by the
sea, and I'm going to dive into the water,
and bring up sixpences and shillings in
my mouth-you can throw them in, and
I'll bring them up again-and I'm going
*to learn to fire guns, and I'll fish. '11








14 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


make friends with some of the fisher-
men, and I'll go out at night in their
boats. I'll choose stormy nights, for 'tis
bravest to go out on stormy nights. I'll
ride too, but I won't ride any horse that
isn't a little wicked. You needn't think
to keep me in when I get to the country,
and there's no manner of use in your
taking down books like Near
Home' and Far off'; it isn't likely
a boy would trouble himself about
books of that sort. Oh! Chris, dar-
ling, I believe I've got hold of a
secret."
A secret, Phil ? I don't know what
you mean."
It's about the place we are going to.
Father was whispering to mother, and
he said something about a house, and
mother said Hush !' "








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


But we are just going to the Manor
Farm."
"Yes, but the other place is near where
we are going. A mysterious place, I've no
doubt, with a history and a ghost, and
all sorts of jolly things belonging to it.
Mother seemed rather frightened. Of
course father didn't mind, only he said,
" Hush, my dear Now, Christabel, you
see there is a secret."
I really don't, Phil ; it doesn't matter
to us if there's a house near Mrs. Bell's
with a queer name. I mean that we
have nothing to say to it if it is there."
Phil pursed out his lips, and gave vent
to a long whistle.
Since I was born," he said presently,
" nothing in the shape of a secret ever
came near me that I didn't find out all
about it. I'm not going to say much








10 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

about it, but I'll soon know all there is
to tell of the mystery near the Manor
Farm. It sounds well, doesn't it-' The
Mystery near the Manor Farm.' I'll
speak to Mrs. Bell about it. I trust it's
dangerous and blood-curdling. A murder
committed long ago, or something of
that sort. I've been thinking a lot about
it, Chris, and I've nearly made up my
mind that it's a skeleton hidden away
somewhere. I shall probably be the
one to find the bones. Poor mother.
1 mustn't give her a hint of all this, but
you see, Chris, with this on my mind
it is not necessary for me to burden
myself with many books."
Christabel had risen from her kneeling
position on the floor while Phil was
speaking. She was not a particularly
curious child herself-her nature was








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


practical,-she was neither ambitious
nor fanciful-it came into her head while
her brother was talking that no one
could possibly look droller, nor have a
more fascinating manner, or yet give
utterance to such complete nonsense.
I didn't know you could be so silly,
Phil," she said. If there is a secret
near the Manor Farm, and I don't
believe myself there is any secret, it
cannot be a bad, dreadful thing, with
bones in it, and a skeleton. I know it
cannot be that, and I'm not going to
worry my head on the subject."
Here she once more dropped on her
knees, and began to select the books
she meant to take away herself.
There's 'Amy Herbert,' she
whispered under her breath, "and the
'Fairchild Family,' and-and 'Carrots.'








I8 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

What is: it, Phil? I wish you would
not knock against my elbow."
But, Christabel, you've got to listen,
I've found out the beginning of the
secret. I don't mean to leave a stone
unturned to unravel the whole thing."
"Sybil and Gillie say that too,"
answered Christabel in her calmest
tones. "I don't really much care. I
suppose it's the right place for us to go
to, or father and mother would not send
us there; but Syb and Gillie have been
*going on about something. Nurse says
they are talking nonsense. I think you
are -talking nonsense. Oh, Phil! how
you do push me about."
Phil whistled again-said nothing
further, and presently strolled out of
the school-room. Christabel's words
had somehow acted on him as a dash








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


of cold water-a secret which the little
ones shared could not be much after all.
Phil was considered the plain one of
the family; he had a round face, slightly
freckled, a comical little nose, and tightly
curling hair. His hair had a glow about
it, which made it a little brighter than
gold, and a little less than red; his eyes
were a red-brown. A plain little boy
with carroty hair, strangers were apt to
call him; but those who knew him well-
his mother, for instance, and his younger
brother and sisters-used to consider
that same face of his charming, for such
fun lurked round the lips, and such a
light shone through the eyes, that, not-
withstanding his naughtiness, his trouble-
some spirit, and his mischievous habits,
he was to those who knew him well
almost beautiful in appearance, and








20 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


certainly lovable in disposition. Phil gave
Mrs. Rochester a great deal of anxiety,
but she had never yet corrected him for
telling a falsehood, and in his worst
scrapes she had never found him inclined
to throw the blame on others.
This troublesome boy had wound him-
self very tightly round his mother's heart.
She loved all her children with the
deepest devotion, but she certainly
bestowed more thought on Phil than on
either Christabel or the little ones. Mr.
Rochester's plan of sending the children
to the Manor Farm was doubtless an
excellent one. Mr. Rochester had been
there long ago, when he was a boy, and
he had absolute faith in Mrs. Bell, and
in-well, in the House of Surprises. But
Mrs. Rochester did not feel quite com-
fortable. She wondered if Mrs. Bell








WHAT WAS THE SECRET ?


would or could understand Phil, if the
little ones would get on without nurse,
and how Miss Rogers would manage so
many children alone. She hoped the
plan would succeed, but she felt a little
doubtful, and trembled as to the fate of
her nestlings.
The packing was all done, the children
had selected their favourite books and
toys, the trunks were locked, strapped
down, and labelled, and on Sunday night
Mrs. Rochester determined to say a
word or two, first to Christabel, and then
to Phil.
















CHAPTER III.


A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY.

CHRISTABEL was the sort of child
who never gave much anxiety; she
was very pretty, tall for her age, slightly
and gracefully made, and with a sweet
calm face. The servants always said,
" Oh, it is no trouble to Miss Christabel
to be good: her temper is that sweet, no
passions or flying into rages with her,
bless her!" Her mother said, "Chris-
tabel has never given me an hour's
anxiety; I think she has a beautiful
nature."
She sent for her little daughter now on
22







A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY.


this Sunday evening, and talked to her
for some time, telling her something of
her fears and anxieties, of her wishes
and longings for Phil, and of her great
desire that the little ones should keep as
much as possible with their elder sister.
You know, darling," continued mother,
" they have never been from under nurse's
wing before, and Phil is so fascinating."
So he is, mother," answered Chris-
tabel; he's a darling of course we all
love him."
Yes, dear; but he may lead the little
ones into danger, and get into danger
himself. Christabel, I really feel ner-
vous. I do trust his wild spirits won't
lead him quite too much astray in th
country."
"Well, mamma, he did talk of doing
without the recreation books, and of








24 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

riding on wild horses, and firing guns,
and going to sea in leaky boats, or-oh
no, that wasn't it-going out on a stormy
sea in a boat with fishermen. Perhaps
the boat wasn't leaky," concluded Chris-
tabel, who liked to be very accurate.
Mrs. Rochester sighed.
I don't think Phil will be allowed to
do any of these things," she said gently.
" Well, my dear little daughter, I trust
in you; I know you will try and do your
best for your brother."
"Yes, mamma," said Christabel; and
then her mother kissed her, and she
went away, feeling a little grave and
depressed, but quite determined in her
rather motherly little heart to shield the
children, as she called Syb and Gillie.
Mrs. Rochester had some difficulty in
finding Phil; she was even more anxious








A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY.


to have a talk with Phil than with Chris-
tabel, but she took some time to discover
his whereabouts.
At last, however, a very dusty little
figure, with a head of rumpled hair and
a face streaked with dirt, was seen rush-
ing wildly along the upstairs corridors,
and on Mrs. Rochester's calling, Phil,
Phil," the little figure stood still, the
light shone brightly in the red-brown
eyes, the comical mouth burst into smiles,
and Phil dashed up to his mother's side.
"I'm as busy as possible," he said.
" I forgot until the last moment that we'd
want gardening tools in the country, so I
have been down in the lumber-room,
poking out my old spade and rake. I
mustn't clean them, because it is Sunday,
but I can do that when we get into the
country; and, mother, I think I'll take








26 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

down two of my pet house-spiders. I'll
put them in a little box, and take them
ever so carefully. I shouldn't be surprised
if change of air did them lots of good."
But Mrs. Bell has not included the
spiders in her invitation, -Phil. If she is
the nice and tidy old lady I imagine her
to be she will not care for a visit from
town spiders. I think you had better
leave them at home, my son; but now
come into my room-I want to have a
chat with you,"
Mrs. Rochester said nothing about
Phil's ruffled hair and dirt-streaked little
face; it is to be doubted, indeed, whether
at this moment she noticed these defects.
Sitting down on a sofa, she held the boy
close to her side, and looked long and
anxiously into the eyes she loved.
Mother will miss you, Phil," she








A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY.


said then. In one way I shall miss
you more than the others, because I
shall be more anxious about you."
Phil puckered his brows, made his
dirt-streaked face look irresistibly comi-
cal, and then said-
Oh, what a bother! and you are
going away to be made well, too; what a
pity it is that I'm the naughty one."
I was wondering, Phil," said mother,
taking his little brown face, and stroking
it tenderly, "if during this visit you
would try to be the good one."
Phil sighed profoundly.
You don't want me to be as good as
Chris," he said. "I'm a boy. You
couldn't expect it, you know."
I don't want you to be good after the
manner of a little girl, Phil; but I want
you once for all to learn, my son, to learn







28 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

and to let sink into your heart, the grand
fact that it is manly and brave to be
good, and cowardly and weak to be
naughty. Now, I am not going to lec-
ture you, my dear little-man; you know
who to ask for help, Phil? I am not
well, and I am going away for a change,
and whether I am to get better ornot
will greatly depend on the accounts I
get of my dear children. Now give me
one kiss, and look into my eyes., Ah,
yes I know you will try. Phil, I ex-
pect you will have a beautiful time in the
country. I am glad you are taking your
garden tools. You will probably spend
your time in the air from morning till
night. So much the better. You
will come back to me as brown as a
berry."
SThat night Phil and Christabel, each








A MODEL GOOD LITTLE BOY.


in their separate little rooms, laid their
heads on their pillows with very tender
thoughts of mother. Christabel would
accept the responsibility mother had laid
upon her, and guard the little ones and
keep them out of mischief; and Phil-
yes, Phil, even though he could not bear
it-would become one of those proper,
model, good little boys who gave no
anxiety to their parents. He quite failed
to take in mother's words about the good
boys being brave ones.
Still, for her sake I'll do it," he said
to himself; she shall come back better,
and I won't be a bother to her, however
tiresome I find it. Dear, dear how dull
it will all be I expect I had better get
one of those dreadful Far OfPs,' and
stick it in my trunk; yes, I'll run down.
stairs and fetch it now, while I think of








30 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

it. Oh dear! oh dear! I mustn't take
my spiders, and I must obey Miss Rogers.
Well, I know one thing: I wouldn't be
good for any other soul in all the world
except mother."
















CHAPTER IV.


ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY.

THE next morning, at an early hour,
an excited little group might have
been seen standing close together on one
of the large platforms at the Waterloo
terminus.
A vast pile of luggage had just been
transferred by a porter into the. luggage-
van, and Mr. Rochester was coming for-
ward to conduct his little party to a com-
fortable first-class compartment, which
they were to have all to themselves. The
said party consisted of Miss Rogers and
the four children, but mother and nurse
31








32 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

had come with them to the railway
station to see them off, and mother's
face was pale, and nurse's eyes red with
constant weeping.
Now, for goodness sake, Miss
Rogers," she said, you look sharp after
Master Gilbert that he don't get his feet
wet. Salt water or no salt water, it's bad
for young children to have damp socks-
so you see to it, miss; and as to Miss
Sybil, mind you wrap up her throat well
whenever the wind is the least bit in the
east. Oh, I do hope my pets won't
come to no harm, but my mind misdoubts
me. There, Miss Rogers, no offence is
meant to you, miss, but you don't under-
stand the ways of children."
Just, however, as the train was about
to move off, two small incidents occurred
which comforted nurse a good deal. The








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY.


first of them was this:. Christabel put
her arms round her old nurse's neck, and
whispered into her ear, I'm going to
see after Syb and Gillie. I promised
mother, so you needn't fret, nursey
darling."
-The second was this: Phil also kissed
his old nurse, and as he did so he said,
' It's necessary for mother that I should
be good, so I'm going to be good. It
will be horrid and dull, but I have made
up my mind, and I put 'Far Off' into
my trunk, and I have left those two dar-
ling fat spiders at home."
After this little speech nurse kissed
Phil even more tenderly than she had
done Christabel.
Miss Rogers was a very conscientious
person; she was a capital instructress,
and could ground her little pupils well in








34 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

all those branches of knowledge which it
was necessary for them to acquire; but,
alas Miss Rogers had but small physi-
cal courage, and, what was far worse,
was a little deficient in tact. She was so
good-natured that when Mrs. Rochester
suggested that nurse should have a
sorely-needed holiday, and Miss Rogers
should undertake the charge of the four
children, she accepted the task with out-
ward willingness, although she inwardly
trembled, and, as she expressed it to her-
self, shook in her shoes.
Miss Rogers, however, had a very calm
and placid face, and only those who
knew her intimately guessed how very
timid she was. Mrs. Rochester had no
idea of this failing on the part of her
esteemed governess, but nurse guessed
at it, and the saddest fact of all was








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY.


that the children knew it very well
indeed.
They knew perfectly that if they chose
to be naughty while in the country Miss
Rogers would have very little control
over them. At present, however, the
two elder ones were determined to be
good, and where they led, Sybil and
Gilbert would assuredly follow.
The journey, therefore, down to Devon-
shire commenced under the most favour-
able circumstances, and Miss Rogers
drew a long breath of satisfaction when
she saw Christabel ensconce herself com-
fortably in her corner with a very de-
formed looking stocking which she was
trying to knit. Phil seated himself in a
stiff attitude opposite to his sister, and
tried manfully to keep his bright eyes on
the pages of Far Off," and the two








36 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

little ones curl themselves cosily close
together and soon dropped asleep.
Miss Rogers said quietly, under her
breath, How thankful I feel! and then,
fixing her spectacles on her nose, she
applied herself to a dry treatise on astro-
nomy.
The train was going very quickly, and
had just entered a tunnel, when the first
interruption came to the good lady's
placidity. There happened to be no lamp
in the carriage, and closing her book, she
allowed her tired eyes to shut, and pre-
pared to enjoy the rest which these few
moments of darkness afforded. Suddenly
a cock crowed in the sharpest and shrillest
manner into her ear.
Good gracious me! My dear children,
there are fowls in the carriage! she
exclaimed.








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY. 37

Christabel was the only one of the four
who made any response; her little voice
was heard through the darkness, saying-
Phil, that wasn't kind of you." Miss
Rogers felt intensely angry, but when the
train emerged out of the tunnel Phil
looked up most innocently from his book.
" There must be some fowls packed away
somewhere in a hamper under the seats "
he exclaimed. I heard that cock too.
Into which of your ears did it crow, Miss
Rogers ? It came to me to my left ear."
Miss Rogers did not deign to glance at
Phil, but Christabel, springing from her
seat, and entangling the wool of her
.:I- :i'-1: round her legs, began whispering
earnestly into her brother's ear. Her
whispers presently caused him to resume
his reading, although he would only do so
on condition that Christabel peeped








38 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

over his shoulder and read with him, in
order that she might hear his comments
as he perused the pages. These were
much as follows:
"What nonsense! Christabel, just
listen to this description-why, it isn't a
bit true. I fancy I could teach the old
lady who wrote this book a thing or two.
Oh, I say, I must be turning good-I
only trust I'm not too good to live- "
For mother's sake," whispered the
tender voice of little Christabel.
"Yes, yes, yes-am not I trying?
Miss Rogers, it's time for lunch ? I
am starving; I could eat all the contents
of that basket-I really could. I only
trust, for my sake, that the rest of you
are blessed with refined appetites."
Luncheon caused a very pleasing diver-
sion. Syb and Gillie awoke, and were








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY.


quite ready to share the contents of the
excellent picnic basket which nurse had
packet.
The rest of the long hours slipped by
somehow, and at last the children and
the governess found themselves landed,
or, as Miss Rogers afterwards expressed
it, stranded, on the small platform of a
tiny wayside station.
Miss Rogers had much dreaded the
moment when they should arrive at this
station. She had a horror of all railway
stations, and never saw a child move
within two or three feet of the edge of a
platform without expecting it to tumble
on to the rails.
Sybil, take my hand," she exclaimed
-" Gilbert, my other hand. Christabel
and Philip, walk in front of me. Now,
my dears, we will, in a compact body, go








40 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


down and invade the luggage van. Oh,
dear! oh, dear I trust the train is not
moving. Guard-Porter our luggage is
not out yet. Three tin bath trunks
covered with canvas, a black box with
brass nails and a strap, a large wicker
dress case, a deal box full of books.
Children, children! how many things
have I counted ? Oh, my poor head is
going round, and the train is off, and I
left my white cotton sunshade in the
carriage, after all! "
The boxes are all on the platform,"
said Christabel. I see them every one
-I can count them from here, if you
like." Phil began to dance an excited
hornpipe. It's delicious in the country,'
he said, I feel as if I must have a run
-I'll just fly from one end of the platform
to the other two or three times. Oh,








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY. 41

hurrah! there's another train coming in.
I'll see if I can keep up with it.
Come, Gillie, shall we have a race ? "
Before Miss Rogers could prevent him,
Phil was off like an arrow from a bow, but
she contrived to retain the little boy's
hand in hers.
Gilbert, if you attempt to leave my
side I shall punish you severely."
Nurse was not accustomed to speak-
ing to Gillie in so sharp a tone, and the
little fellow instantly began to cry.
Just then a porter appeared on the
scene.
Can I do anything for you, ma'am ? "
Yes-certainly you can; this is a
most extraordinary outlandish place, no
porters about-at least-I beg your
pardon, one has at last arrived; please
see to my trunks-four bath trunks, one








42 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

black box with brass nails, one large dress
case, one deal box-count them on your
fingers, porter, and see how many they
make."
Four, and one, and one," began the
porter, in a sulky tone: seven, I makes
them, and seven there are here. Where
shall I take them, ma'am? "
Please find out if Mrs. Bell from the
Manor Farm has sent her carriage.
Please be quick; we want to get away
as fast as possible, The farm, I under-
stand, is about two miles from here."
A matter of three," replied the man,
"and all up-hill. I don't think Mrs.
Bell has sent no vehicle, but I'll go and
look; 'tis haymaking to-day at the farm,
and Mrs. Bell can't spare the horses."
The porter disappeared, to return in a
few moments with the unpleasing infor-








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY. 43

nation that no carriage or trap of any
sort was waiting from the Manor Farm.
Oh, then we must walk," said Phil;
" how perfectly, exquisitely delicious.
I feel so fresh. Miss Rogers, had we not
better start at once ? Gillie and I can
run most of the way; we will get there
a good bit before you and the girls.
Gillie can ride on my back if he is tired.
Oh, fancy, a three-mile walk right up-
hill! isn't it jolly ? "
Phil, you are teasing Miss Rogers
very much," whispered Christabel. "Miss
Rogers," she continued, "Phil is not
going to do anything so naughty as to
run on by himself with Gillie. He pro-
mised mamma to be good, and I know
he will be good."
But Christabel's anxious little words
were quite lost on Miss Rogers at that
D








44 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


moment; she was speaking in a very
excited manner to the porter, assuring
him that Mrs. Bell must have sent a car-
riage; and when at last she was induced
to believe his direct statement that no
such vehicle awaited the tired travellers,
she instantly ordered one to be fetched
from the nearest inn or hotel. Here,
however, she was met by a fresh dif-
ficulty.. The village inn owned but
one trap and one horse, and the trap
and horse were out for the day.
'! There's only one way to get to the
farm that I can see," answered the
porter, and that is to go in the carrier's
cart. It's a spring cart, and not at all so
bad, and it will take you, ma'am, and
the two little misses, quite snug inside;
and the young gents can ride on the box
beside Thompson."








ADVENTURES OF THE JOURNEY. 45

"Hurrah!" shouted Phil, tossing his
cap three times in the air.
"Hurrah! more feebly echoed little
Gillie; but Gilbert's mirth was speedily
crushed in the bud.
On one course I am fully resolved,"
answered Miss Rogers. Gilbert shall
sit inside the cart with me. Christabel,
you had better get on the box beside
your brother, and try, my dear child, to
keep him in some sort of order."
















CHAPTER V.


THE GREY MAN.

THE Manor Farm was as quaint, and
picturesque, and rambling a place
as any heart could desire. The house
was covered with jessamine, and roses,
and Virginia creeper. The little quaint
lattice windows were all framed in with
greenery, and the birds built their nests
in the deep overhanging eaves. The
farm was on the summit of a high hill,
and its fields sloped gradually down to
the wide blue sea, which lay sparkling
and lovely many hundred feet below.
The house was extremely old, with lots
46








THE GREY MAN.


of funny-shaped rooms, all quaintly fur-
nished with old-world furniture. It was
immediately surrounded, not by an ordi-
nary grass lawn, but innumerable funny
little flower-beds, cut out in queer shapes
of hearts, and lozenges, and diamonds,
and surrounded by neatly-kept borders
of box. The flower-beds were inter-
spersed with very narrow winding walks,
and the beds themselves were full of
bright, old- fashioned flowers, all in the
perfection of bloom. When Miss Rogers
discovered that no carriage had been
sent for her and her party to the railway
station, she instantly made up her mind
that Mrs. Bell must be a very disagree-
able, loud-voiced woman of the manly
type; but, when she arrived at the farm,
she and the children were greeted by the
daintiest-looking little old lady it would be








48 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

possible to see. Mrs. Bell had very
bright and very dark eyes, but her hair
was soft and silvery, and lay in pretty
waves under a cap of choice real lace.
Her dress was grey silk, and she had
ruffles of lace round her neck and at her
wrists. She gave. her visitors a most
hospitable and hearty welcome, but did
not dream of apologising for the carrier's
cart. On the contrary, she said she con-
sidered it a.very pleasant way of coming
to the farm, and as she knew Thompson
would be at the station she had not
troubled her head further about the
matter.
"Now, my dears," she said to the
children, after they had all partaken of a
delicious supper, I will show you first
your bedrooms, and then your play-room.
Miss Rogers, will you.follow me? My








THE GREY MAN.


dear little ones, kindly keep behind Miss
Rogers,"
In a little file, and far too much ex-
cited and interested not to be good, the
children trooped upstairs. They were
shown into two large low-ceilinged rooms
-the outer one of which was to belong
to Phil and Gilbert, and the inner to
Miss Rogers and the little girls. There
was but little furniture in the bed-rooms,
but what there was, was fresh and ex-
quisitely clean. Miss Rogers' room
faced the sea, but the. boys, to their
delight, looked out through their bowery
windows on the farmyard. Phil's quick
eyes detected a gnarled old pear-tree,
down which he thought he might swarm
some day when he happened not to be
very good.
"You can arrange your trunks and








50 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


your little possessions by-and-by, child-
ren," said Mrs. Bell, in her bright tones.
Then she led the way down the winding
stairs, and took them into a large room
with three windows, all of which opened
like doors. There were deep seats to
each of the windows, and they looked
directly out on the quaint little flower-
garden. The floor of this room was
covered with green felt, and at one side
of the wall was a series of cupboards.
In the lock of each cupboard door was a
bright little key, and to the key was
affixed a white label.
Here is a cupboard for each of you,
children," said Mrs. Bell. I expect
you to keep your toys here, and, indeed,
anything else you fancy. You may lock
your cupboards if you please, and keep
the keys; only be careful not to lose








THE GREY MAN.


them, for I shall not give you any others.
I have duplicate keys myself, but nothing
will induce me to part with them. Inside
each of the cupboards is a little slit, or
hole-under the slit the word Post-office
is written. Whenever you want to write
to me, or to ask me a favour, or to tell
me anything, you can drop a letter into
your post-office ; it will be sure to reach
the hands for which it is meant. Now,
good-night, my loves. I am very busy,
and shall not see you again until the
morning. Take great care of your cup-
boards, for they mean a great deal more
than appears at first sight. You are
very fortunate to have them; but please
remember they are only yours as long as
you are good."
These words were very exciting.
Although, when they went upstairs, Chris-








52 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


tabel felt so sleepy she could scarcely
keep her eyes open, she was not greatly
surprised when Phil pulled her sleeve
and begged of her to come downstairs
with him.
"It's no matter what Miss Rogers
says," he exclaimed. If I don't talk to
you a little time to-night, Chris, my head
will burst, or something else dreadful will
happen. Come, her back is to us now,
while she's unpacking the trunks. Rush
-run-you must come downstairs with
me, for I cannot sleep or rest until I have
examined the cupboards."
I don't mind going with you," said
Christabel, but I hope you will not
keep me long, for my eyes are just long-
ing to stay shut. I don't see," she added
sadly, "why the cupboards should not wait
until to-morrow-they won't run away,








THE GREY MAN.


and they must look just like any other
cupboards. Cupboards are not.the most
interesting things in the worldwhen one
is awfully sleepy," she concluded with a
deep sigh.
In all the world they are the most
interesting things to me at the present
moment," responded Phil. Then he took
his sister's arm again, more firmly, and
rushed downstairs with her. You know,
Chris," he said, that mother has given
me more or less in charge to you. You
are to keep me good, if you can, and at
any rate you are to be my safety valve."
Yes, Phil," said Christabel. I'd do
anything in my power to please mother,
and to help you."
Well, you can help me now by being
greatly interested in what we are looking
at. Come along-I'm going to choose








54 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

my cupboard now. Fancy a room with four
cupboards in a row. Which shall I have,
Chris; the one near the windowor the door?
Perhaps the one near the window would
be the best, for it has the most light."
The long, low cheerful room was
still flooded with the soft after-glow
caused by the setting sun. It was really
a very pleasant play-room, and any
little boy or girl who was fortunate
enough to call part of it their very
own would naturally be in a state of high
good humour. Even Christabel lost her
sleepiness, as they opened the doors of
the cupboards, and counted the shelves,
and measured with little pieces of string
the length of each. Phil had a secret
longing that the cupboard near the window
should contain a greater number of
shelves, or possess a distinct advantage











2'd "


I ~~yI]


Christabel lost her sleepiness as they opened the doors of the cupboards
and counted the shelves.








THE GREY MAN.


over the others. But no, they were
all exactly alike-all neat and convenient
and charming-with their pale blue lining
paper, bordered with a little silver edge,
and their wide, commodious, capable
shelves. The little slits or post-offices
were exactly the same size in each-there
was, in short, not a pin's point of dif-
ference between the cupboards.
It's really provoking," said Phil. "I'm
the eldest boy, and I ought to have the
best cupboard; however, I suppose the
one near the window has more light than
the others, so I had better choose that."
It did not occur to him that he was
selfish; he stood in a pleased attitude by
the window, his hair rumpled up, and his
brown eyes dancing.
Now, Chris, it's your turn to choose.
Which cupboard will you have ? "








56 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

They are all beautiful," said Chris-
tabel, they are all alike. I'll have
whichever one the children don't want;
and now I am so tired, I really must go
to bed."
She did not know she was unselfish;
she put her arm round Phil's neck, and
they went up the narrow winding stairs to
their quaint bedrooms together.
In a few days the children were com-
fortably settled at the Manor Farm, and
very soon, after the fashion of childhood,
they began to look upon the place as
their home. The memory of the London
house faded and became dim, and all
their interests and hopes were centred
round the farm and its belongings.
Mother and father were of course loved as
dearly as ever, and nurse was by no means
forgotten; but the delightful life at the








THE GREY MAN.


farm now filled their little heads, and they
speedily forgot that they were only here
on a visit, and must return to the duller
routine of duty and of lessons some day.
Phil was so happy and so much occu-
pied that for the first week of his visit he
had really no time and no inclination to
be naughty. The weather was exquisite,
and the children spent most of their time
in the hay-fields. Mrs. Bell gave them a
few broad rules to obey-otherwise they
had perfect liberty. One of these rules
was, on no account to leave the farm
without permission; but there was so
much to be seen within the limits of
Manor Farm that for some time the chil-
dren did not mind this regulation.
During the first week of their visit the
only one who was not quite happy and
contented was Miss Rogers. But Miss







58 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


Rogers was nervous. She said afterwards
that long experience had made her so.
She could not help watching Phil with
anxious eyes; she could not settle down
in peace to her astronomy; the charms
of the country failed to soothe her; and
although she had no lessons to give, she
often owned to herself that she was far
more tired than if she had.
Often and often did she bitterly regret
having taken the charge of the four chil-
dren. Gillie was sure to have wet feet,
Sybil was certain to take cold, and Phil
would as undoubtedly get into mischief as
a duck would swim. Christabel, she
thought, might be trusted to behave toler-
ably well; but even Christabel looked
worried now and then when Miss Rogers
stole upon her unawares, and asked her if
she had thoroughly mastered her recrea-








THE GREY MAN.


tion lessons, and if she was quite certain
she had not over-heated herself in the
hay-field.
One bright afternoon, the children all
comfortably within sight, Miss Rogers was
pacing slowly up and down a shady lane
at a little distance from the house; she
had her favourite book on astronomy in
her hand, and she was really feeling for
the time being rather free from worries.
A high-pitched and peculiar voice at
her elbow caused her to raise her head
with a start. A gentleman whom she had
never before seen at the farm had come
up behind her, and was now walking by
her side. He was dressed in a strange
and old-fashioned suit of clothes: he wore
knee-breeches and a cutaway coat, with a
high collar; his hair was long, and fell
over his shoulders; and on his head,








60 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


pushed rather far back, was a large soft
felt hat.
The hat, the coat, the trousers were all
grey; the man's hair was also grey; his
complexion was pale, and his eyes were
very bright, sharp, and piercing.
He made an old-fashioned bow to Miss
Rogers.
Madam," he said, I am very pleased
to make your acquaintance. My residence
is not far from here. I often visit the
farm. Let me introduce myself to you
as Mr. Selby-Francis Jonas Selby, at
your service. I take a great interest in
Mrs. Bell; she is, indeed, a near relation
of mine-a cousin-almost a sister. I am
constantly here. She told me of your
expected arrival, and that you had brought
children with you. I take the deepest
interest in children; I study them, and








THE GREY MAN.


have theories about them. May I venture
to inquire your name ? "
Rogers," replied the governess-
" Sarah Emily Rogers. I am- "
I know-I know," interrupted the old
man in grey. I can read you like a book;
you are over anxious about the four dear
little children you have the care of-pray
don't be so, for they shall be well watched
and looked after while here. I have a
theory about children, dear madam-they
must learn by experience, exactly as their
elders have done: experience is the only
real school-mistress. Now please rest
tranquilly while here. I promise to help
you in your care of the children; and if
you will only come with me down this
shady avenue, where we shall be quite
unobserved, I have no objection to con-
fiding to you a little secret."








62 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

Oh, you are very kind," answered
Miss Rogers,who was a good deal flattered
and pleased by the eccentric stranger's
attention.
"But," she continued, nervously, "if
we go down that shady walk we shall be
quite out of sight of the hay-field."
And of the children ? queried Mr.
Selby. Just the very thing I want; chil-
dren dislike being watched, and there is
nothing so bad for them. Now let me beg
of you to accompany me in this pleasant
walk. I feel quite sure that I shall be
able to appease your fears after we have
had a little conversation together."
Miss Rogers appeared that afternoon
at the Manor Farm dinner with a slight
and unusual flush on her pale face; her
eyes, too, looked quite bright, and had
wonderfully lost their strained and worried








THE GREY MAN. 63

expression. She did not, as was the usual
custom at meals, annoy the children with
constant disparaging remarks as to their
conduct. She did not, as was her habit,
say: Sybil, sit straight on your chair."
" Phil, don't eat so fast." Gillie, where
is your pinafore ? On the contrary, she
was remarkably silent during the meal.
Neither, however, did she say a word
about her meeting with Mr. Selby.















CHAPTER VI.


FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AND FAIRY GIFTS.

S YBIL and Gillie chose the middle
cupboards, so Christabel's was
nearest the door. The arranging of their
cupboards had given the little ones great
pleasure, and Sybil, in her efforts to crowd
all her possessions into the delicate blue-
lined shelves, had become quite a neat
little maid.
One hot afternoon, Gillie, who had
worked hard in the hayfield all the morn-
ing, called anxiously to his sister:
Let's come in here," he said, pointing
with his fat little finger to the playroom-








FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AND FAIRY GIFTS. 65

" let's sit on the floor just under our two
cupboards, and let's think."
I want to write a letter," said Sybil.
" I haven't written once to my own, own
mother since I went away, and I don't
think it's kind."
"I'll write a letter too," said Gillie.
"You remember the nice little post-
offices under our cupboards, Syb ?
We won't have to go outside to look for
a pillar-box; we can just drop our letters
into our own little post-offices, and
by-and-by they'll get to father and
mother. I do think it's a very nice
plan."
Only," continued Gillie, pursing up
his mouth, looking important, and drop-
ping his voice to a little whisper, I'm
thinking that those are the fairies' post-
offices. Do you think the fairies will take








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


our letters quite safely to father and
mother, Syb ?"
"Oh, Gillie," replied Sybil, "what a
very little baby boy you are ; there are no
real fairies. Let's write our letters, and
drop them into the post-offices, and of
course, they'll get to father and mother-
there are no real fairies, you poor, silly
little boy."
Gilbert did not at all like to be called a
silly little boy. Sybil, however, who was
a year and a half older, had great influence
over him, and with a short sigh he said
now-
"Well let's write; only I do almost
think there are fairies about."
Accordingly the two children opened
their writing desks, and began to indite
some very juvenile epistles. Sybil's ran
as follows :-








FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AND FAIRY GIFTS. 67

DARLING MOTHER,-Gillie and me,
we like the Manor Farm. I don't get no
wet feet, and Gillie don't have his colds.
We is very well, only we want you most
dreadful. Your darling SYBIL."
I don't think that's a right kind of
letter," said Gillie; you have not asked
for anything. A real right letter always
asks for things. I'm going to ask for lots
of things. I wonder can I ask in round
hand ? "
Here Gillie bent down over his page,
and, with a very red face and little fat
fingers a good deal covered with ink,
wrote as follows:-
FATHER,-I'm thinking that I want a
bat, and a top, and a kite, and new
marbles-and-and-a rocking horse,
and a real live pony."
Oh, Gillie, what a selfish letter in-
terposed Sybil. I only really and truly








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


want one thing, and that is a case full
of scissors like mother's, but I wouldn't
ask for it 'cause it seems selfish."
"Oh, and I want a knife with three
blades,"
proceeded Gillie, calmly.
I think that's all.
Your loving son,
GILBERT ROCHESTER."
The two letter were then folded up
and put into envelopes, and directed
"Father" on one, "Mother" on the
other, and finally dropped without any
further address into the post-offices.
Sybil had not the slightest fear but that
her letter would reach its destination,
and, strange to say, the two letters
with these very scant addresses did get
to father and mother by-and-by; but
another very curious thing happened








FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AND FAIRY GIFTS. 69

also. On opening her cupboard next
day Sybil found a charming little case
containing three pairs of scissors await-
ing her. Gillie, when he saw this gift.
come from nobody knew whom and
nobody knew where, rushed to his
cupboard, and opened it eagerly.
"My bat, my ball, my knife with
three blades!" he exclaimed. Oh, I
know there are fairies, dear little fairies,
about! But, alas poor little Gillie's
face became blank, for the fairies had
left no gift in his cupboard. Christabel
was, of course, a great deal older than
the two younger children, and was
naturally supposed to be much wiser;
but strange as it may seem, she also
became imbued with the belief that
fairies visited the farm. She would not
have said so for anything, but she had a








70 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

kind of conviction down in the bottom
of her heart that this was the case.
Her cupboard had also contained
from time to time wonderful and un-
looked for things. She had been
lamenting not having brought some very
pretty note-paper with the forget-me-not
motto on it from London. She had
bought a quire of this paper, and a
packet of envelopes to match, one day
when in town, and had done so with
the express intention of using the forget-
me-not paper to write to mother while
she was away from her; and now, lo
and behold! the paper and the envelopes
had been left behind, and poor Chris-
tabel, felt inclined to cry with vexa-
tion.
"It would have given mother such
great pleasure to have seen that motto,"








FORGET-ME-NOT PAPER AND FAIRY GIFTS. 71

she said. Poor, darling mother, she
will be disappointed "
But, wonderful to relate, the very
next time Christabel went to her cup-
board a few sheets of note-paper with
forget-me-nots exquisitely hand-painted
on them awaited her; envelopes to match
also lay within reach. The little girl
felt both delighted and bewildered; and
it was about this time she began to incline
to the belief that fairies did still dwell
on the earth. Christabel took one of
the lovely sheets of paper, and wrote a
most charming letter to her mother. In
this letter she gave a flourishifig account
of everything-the farm was delightful;
Mrs. Bell was more than kind; they
were all as happy as the day was long;
and somehow she did think that mother
need not be very anxious, for they were








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


all not only trying to be good, but she
thought they were succeeding.
It is not at all difficult to be good up
here, darling mother,"
wrote Christabel, in conclusion.
We are all so happy, and the place
is so bright, and the sun seems always to
shine. Do you know that the Manor
Farm is on the top of a very, high
hill ? Perhaps it is a little nearer heaven
than other places, and that is the
reason why it is easy to be good up
here.
Your faithful and loving little
daughter,
ic CHRISTABEL."
















CHAPTER VII.


A VISIT TO THE SHORE AND BETTY'S
CAKES.

B UT a sad fact must now be
revealed. No place on earth is
really at heaven's gate, and from no
place will temptations be excluded, or
naughty and silly thoughts cease to
trouble. Phil had by no means for-
gotten his promise to his mother; but
by the time he was a few weeks at the
farm, without being actually aware of
the fact, he was tired of keeping it. It
had become second nature to poor Phil
to be naughty. Before many weeks








74 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

were over he scarcely knew himself when
he found he had been absolutely in no
scrapes. One of the real reasons why
he had remained fairly well-behaved for
so long a period was that not a single
moment of his time remained unoccu-
pied. Mrs. Bell, without appearing to
give anybody anything to do, yet kept
those with whom she came in contact
absolutely busy all day long. What with
running of messages, and playing in the
hay-field, and watching the cows milked,
and the chickens fed, and eating and drink-
ing, and romping and laughing, and gather-
ing flowers and pulling up weeds, the chil-
dren had scarcely breathing-time. At
first Phil was delighted; then, after the
fashion of his changeable little nature, he
became tired, and looked around him
for fresh pastimes.








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


One day he cast envious and longing
eyes on the blue, blue sea, which lay
many feet below him. Down, down,
down, at the very bottom of this high hill
on which the farm stood, danced crisp
and curling waves. The children
had spent many days at the farm, and
had not yet visited the shore. The
reason for this was a very simple one.
Mrs. Bell had said to them-
We are in the midst of hay-making
now: all my men are employed from
morning till night. Until hay-making
is over, therefore, you must content
yourselves with the pleasures of the
farm, for I do not wish any of you to
walk up such a very steep hill in this hot
weather; and until my hay is all carted
in I cannot spare any one to drive you
home. At the end of a fortnight you








70 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

can visit the shore constantly, for I will
always send a cart and horse to fetch you
home in the evening. Remember, my
dear children, I forbid any of you to go
to the shore at present."
For the first two weeks of their visit
none of the little Rochesters found this
prohibition at all tiresome. Phil's
naughty little heart was the first to rebel.
After the fashion of all those who yield
to temptation, he looked and he longed.
He began to think the pleasures of the
farm dull. He began to imagine that no
place in all the world could equal those
smooth and yellow sands. All day,
while his brother and sisters enjoyed
themselves happily, his desire grew
strong within him, and by the evening
he resolved to gratify it. He would be
naughty, he would go and have a really








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


jolly time on the sands, and he would
not take his pleasure alone; he would
induce Sybil and Gillie to accompany
him. The moment his time of indecision
was over he became wildly excited, but
Mrs. Bell was particularly busy that
evening, and took no notice of his
flushed cheeks and shining eyes; and for
some inexplicable reason, Miss Rogers
seemed completely changed; she had
quite ceased to worry the children about
anything, and was not the least put out
by Phil's extravagantly high spirits.
It was just when Christabel had com-
menced her happy letter to her mother
that naughty Phil seized his opportunity
to tempt the little ones.
"Aren't your feet hot? he said to
Gillie.
"Yes, maybe they is rather hot,"








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


replied the little brother, glancing down
at his somewhat scratched little legs and
then up at big Phil.
"And so are mine," said Sybil; "but
I know what will cool them. I've been
running about all the long day, I haven't
been still for a single instant minute,
but Miss Rogers will give my feet a nice
hot bath to-night, and that'll take the
aches out of them beautifully."
Pooh said Phil, I know a better
thing than that. What do you say to
our taking off our shoes and stockings,
and running about on those smooth and
hard sands down there, and letting the
dear little salty waves wet our feet?
that's the kind of thing that rests boys.
I suppose girls do like those horrid,
messy, hot baths."
Sybil coloured, looked up in some







A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


alarm at Phil, and then glanced at Gillie.
She knew perfectly, and without an
instant's hesitation, what was about to
happen; she knew that Phil had come
to the end of his tether, that he was
going to be dreadfully and yet deliciously
naughty, and that she would blindly and
weakly give in to the temptation which
he was about to present to her. She
and Gillie always did feel themselves in
Phil's power; he was autocratic in his
rule, but he was a charming autocrat,
and they were his helpless captives.
Sybil looked at Gillie now, and saw
that his sweet hazel eyes were beginning
to dilate, that his cherub lips were form-
ing into a round half-breathless "Oh !"
of astonishment and fascination. To be
manly and wade about on the sea-shore
was a truly charming thought. Sybil








80 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES

saw that Gillie would yield without a
struggle. For herself, she became pain-
fully red, and stammered out almost
brokenly-
Oh, but-but-Mrs. Bell said we
should go to the shore when the hay-
making was done. Course, 'tis nice to wade
about on the shore, and 'tis manly, and
I didn't say that I wanted hot baths,
though they do take the aches away.
Oh, was that Miss Rogers calling me?
Shall we go to Miss Rogers, Gillie dar-
ling? "
"You can if you like, Sybil," said
Phil, in his most majestic voice. "Gillie
and I are just going to stroll down to the
shore to cool our feet. We'll be back
presently. Come, Gillie."
Phil held out his hand which Gillie
clasped, and the two instantly set out,








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


walking at a quick pace across the hay-
field. Gillie looked back at Sybil, his
eyes, his mouth, his very dimples, all
laughed. Gillie had no pin-pricks of
conscience; he believed devoutly in Phil,
and was determined to stick to his big
brother at any cost. Sybil, left alone at
a few yards' distance, glanced irresolutely
at Miss Rogers and Christabel. In her
eyes at that moment they looked proper,
good, and uninteresting; Phil's back, on
the contrary, the pose of Phil's head,
and the very way he strutted across the
hayfield, became full of a strange fasci-
nation. The little sister could not with-
stand it; to remain behind and be con-
sidered a baby, and have one of those
babyish hot baths, was unbearable; and
she called out-
Stop, Phil, I'm going," and








82 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

then she ran up to her brother, who
took her hand and ceased to reproach her.
We must be very quick," said Phil,
who now that he had secured both his
captives became intensely excited. We
must squeeze through this little hole in
the hedge, for of course we don't want
the rest of them to see us. It would be
perfectly awful to be brought back now.
Come along, Gilbert, here you go. Of
course you won't mind a few scratches
when we're going to have such perfectly
delicious fun."
Gilbert said he didn't mind, and he
certainly bore with great manliness one
or two thorns which got into his bare
brown legs. He was the first to go
through the hedge, and he made the
opening a little wider for Sybil and Phil,
who quickly dragged themselves through.








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


Sybil's brown-holland frock had a sad
rent in.it when she found herself on the
other side of the hedge, but of course
such a trivial thing did not matter in the
least now. It was more than half a mile
from the Manor Farm to the seashore.
There were two ways of going, one by
the road, which led right through a strag-
gling and picturesque fishing village; the
other, and the more attractive way, went
through hayfields, over stiles, and down
very narrow, steep, and winding paths.
This way was the longer and the more
difficult, and naturally the children chose
it. They laughed now, and chuckled
over the fun they were having, and abso-
lutely, for the time at least, forgot that
they were disobedient, and that they
were doing anything wrong. At last, not
without some adventures, they reached








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


the sands. The tide was coming in very
fast, and there was only a narrow margin
of the hard and yellow sands left for them
to wade on. Phil sat down on a piece of
rock, pulled off his shoes and stockings,
and bade Sybil and Gillie do likewise.
They had all run very fast, and hot as
they had been in the hayfield, they were
much hotter now. Sybil's little face was
perfectly crimson, and Gillie began to
wipe the perspiration from his brow.
How they did long to plunge their hot
feet in the cool waves! They all three
began to wade, and it must be owned
that, notwithstanding their naughtiness,
they enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Such pleasures, however, are generally
short-lived, and the first check to the en-
joyment of the evening came when Gillie
slipped and was wetted through and








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


through by a large salt wave. He
scrambled to his feet again, declared he
was not much frightened, but thought he
had better put on his shoes and stockings
now. He looked round for them. Alas,
misfortune number two came quickly.
The tide had floated out all the shoes
and stockings; and Sybil's neat little
boots and black silk stockings, Gillie's
dusty shoes and socks, and Phil's
slightly more manly gear, were all
bobbing up and down at a hopeless
distance, and quite out of the children's
reach. Even Phil did not know what
to do now, and Sybil suddenly, and
without any warning, burst out cry-
ing.
I knew it would happen," said Phil,
"or rather I might have known it.
Something always does happen to stop








86 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

one's fun. Here, take my hand, Gillie,
and let's go home."
But I can't walk on my naked
foots," said Gillie, standing stock still,
and showing himself a very obstinate
little boy. "I don't care if I never
comes home, I'm not going to walk on
my naked foots and have them hurted
not for nobody."
Gillie was wet all over, and he now
sat down on the beach, for he was also
very tired, and he wished to rest himself.
What folly! said Phil; come
along, Gilbert, come along at once.
Sybil, why don't you speak to him;
you're not a bit of good."
They were my best silk stockings,"
sobbed Sybil, and oh, oh, my darling
little Sunday boots, with bows and
buckles in front. Miss Rogers didn't








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


want me to put them on in the hayfield,
but I would. Oh, oh, how cross Miss
Rogers will be now. I don't want to go
home no more than Gillie. I'll sit down
here. I'm very tired, and I don't like
wading."
This conduct on the part of both his
subjects completely foiled poor Phil.
I wish I knew what to do," he said.
" If I could go after the nasty shoes and
stockings bobbing up and down over there,
why I would, but I can't swim, so I'd be
drowned. I don't suppose you'd really
care, Gillie and Syb, whether I was
drowned or not. 'Twas all for you I
thought of this pleasant evening. I saw
how hot you were, and I thought wouldd
do you good. I could have gone to the
shore alone, and nothing would have
happened to me, for I shouldn't mind








88 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

walking without shoes or stockings,
There, I'm a lot too unselfish, that's what
I am."
Syb and Gillie both sat with their
backs to Phil, and apparently took no
notice of his words, but Sybil had stopped
crying and had turned her head very
slightly,so Phil felt quite sure he was making
an impression. He was just beginning
to speak again when there came an inter-
ruption-a gentleman was seen walking
rapidly down towards the sands. He was
an elderly man with iron-gray hair, which
he wore so long that it hung a little over
his shoulders. The suit of clothes he
wore, too, was made of grey freize. In
the dusk of the evening, for the sun had
long set, Sybil christened him on the spot
"the Grey Man." He came up to the
children very much as if he expected to








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


find them there, and as though he were
an old friend, and said quickly and deci-
sively-
Oh, the shoes and stockings, why
don't you fish them out ?"
"But we can't, sir," said Phil, they
have gone out a long way, and we are
none of us big enough, for we can't swim.
I'm only eight years old. I suppose I
ought to know how to swim. I daresay
most manly boys do know how to swim at
my age."
Of course they do, sir," said the Grey
Man, with a very odd twinkle in one of
his eyes. You ought to be ashamed of
yourself, and of course you are. Now just
see what it is not to have a spark of man-
liness in one, nor a scrap of common
sense. Don't you know that the tide is
coming in ? Well, of course, if you stand








THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.


just here, your shoes and stockings will
be drifted a little nearer with each in-
coming wave, and all you have to do is to
catch them before they float out again.
Here, I'll help you so far, though you
may be quite sure I don't intend to get
my own feet wet, for I'm very rheumatic;
but I'll tell you what I'll do : I'll fasten
my red silk handkerchief to your leather
belt, and hold the other end, and then you
can wade out, as you're so fond of wading,
and fetch your property."
Phil did not at all like the tone used by
the elderly gentleman: he was too glad,
however, to accept any help in his present
plight, and he did manage to rescue all
the shoes and stockings, with the excep-
tion of one of Sybil's little boots, which
just at the critical moment filled with
water, and sank to rise no more.








A VISIT TO THE SHORE.


That boot is lost, and we can't waste
any more time over it," said the gentle-
man. Now children, pop on your belong-
ings, and let's be off."
"But where are we going ? said
Sybil.
"You're coming with me, of course;
this bit of the shore where the yellow
sands lie is my property. I never invited
you to play on it, but as you have come
here without leave you must take the con-
sequences. You are my prisoners now,
or my guests, or whatever you like to call
it. I invite you all home to hot buttered
cakes and Devonshire cream, and other
naughty unwholesome things. Come
along, children; I'll carry you, little girl,
as you've only one boot."
The moment Gillie heard of the buttered
cakes and the Devonshire cream he rose








92 THE HOUSE OF SURPRISES.

with alacrity to his feet, and held out a
rather cold little hand to the gentleman.
Oh, you can run, you're a boy," said
the Grey Man; get along in front with
your brother; now let's walk on as fast as
possible. Betty, that's my servant, has
got the cakes all ready, but they won't
improve by keeping. If we all want to be
naughty, let's be quick and go and eat
them."




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